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The Cinematic Orchestra - EP

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Album Review

The Cinematic Orchestra isn't really an orchestra (membership seems to hover around seven or eight people) and in any case this isn't really a Cinematic Orchestra album — it's a compilation of pieces ("songs" would not be the right word) by Grey Reverend, Dorian Concept, and Tom Chant, and Austin Peralta, plus three tracks by the Cinematic Orchestra. Interestingly, one of the Cinematic Orchestra's contributions is the least orchestral entry on the program: "Necrology" is a sort of minimalist jazz fusion; despite its deceptively lush texture there's not a lot of harmonic movement, and the piece tends to sort of circle in place while lots of interesting little things happen among the instrumental parts. "Entr'acte" is much more classical, a quiet and utterly gorgeous piece that starts and ends in a pastoral mode with a brief interlude of chromatic intensity in the middle and a long, rockish outro that subsides into a quiet dénouement. Grey Reverend's "Regen" is a very pleasant and uneventful piece for strings, piano, and acoustic guitar. Peralta's "Lapis" is straight-up neo-romantic chamber music for piano and small string ensemble, and is both very lovely and also the most technically accomplished track on the program. The two entries credited to Dorian Concept and Tom Chant are somewhat disappointing: although "Outer Space" features some very interesting string writing, the skronky saxophone adds little and the piece itself never really generates a lot of interest. "Dream Work" is better, with lush sustained string parts and arpeggiated synthesizer lines, though again the saxophone part (less prominent this time) seems a bit awkward and tacked on. The album ends with another orchestral piece by the Cinematic Orchestra; titled "Manhatta," it concludes the program on a pretty but rather lackluster note.


Formed: 1999

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The brilliantly named Cinematic Orchestra is led by composer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Swinscoe, who formed his first group, Crabladder, in 1990 as an art student at Cardiff College. Crabladder's fusion of jazz and hardcore punk elements with experimental rhythms inspired Swinscoe to further explore the possibilities of sampling, and by the time of the group's demise in the mid-'90s, he was DJ'ing at various clubs and pirate radio stations in the U.K. The music he recorded on his own...
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The Cinematic Orchestra - EP, The Cinematic Orchestra
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